The biggest challenge facing the power sector in the State is shortage of highly-skilled manpower. There is a need for skill development training, and industries’ help is needed for it, said Energy Department Secretary Hemant Sharma at a Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) Energy Conclave on ‘Emerging Power Sector and Priorities for Odisha’ here on Thursday.

    Sharma said though there is no shortage of infrastructure and funds, skilled manpower like fitters and technicians are not available for projects. There is a huge need for skilled manpower and the Government would provide all facilities to get trained and skilled personnel. The State has provided huge funds to develop massive infrastructure so that the initiative of ‘24×7 Power for All in Odisha is achieved.

    He further said now the power distribution companies can have access to Government funds for different projects. While some years ago there were 13 lakh consumers in the State now it has reached 65 lakh. Energy deficits are non- existent and the State has made a transition from shortage regime to surplus regime. Besides, the private sector involvement in thermal and solar power has improved the situation. Now, shortages are thing of the past and surplus power is a reality.

    However, by and large electricity is affordable in Odisha as the State Government has made huge investments. But on subsidies, he said path of revenue subsidies is a black hone and if one gets sucked in, one cannot get out it. So, the Government is making huge investments to make power affordable, he said. Talking about renewable energy, he said presently there is an energy mix and there is requirement for it. But renewable energy should be affordable for the consumer.

    Power is an infinite need and it would grow further. But to generate it, one is dependent on finite need like coal, which one does not know till when it would be available. So sustainability of resources is important, said Sharma.

    Nalco Director Production V Balasubramanyam said India has one per cent of oil reserves but 16 per cent of the world population. So it is a big challenge. Renewable energy would save energy and environment. But there is need for less consumption and more conservation of energy. Nalco is presently consuming 900 MW of power and with expansion of its projects it requirement would increase further.

    The Odisha Government should put u windmills and facilities for solar powar. Nalco will help in it. Then power for all can be a reality. But there is a need for green and clean energy, he said.

    Among others, KPMG partner and head, infrastructure, government and healthcare Ansh De also spoke. Korbinian Holzer Womens Jersey

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